Progressive Commitments and the “Little Guy” in Campaign Finance Regulation

by - November 01, 2013

Bauer: Progressive Commitments and the “Little Guy” in Campaign Finance Regulation -

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court majority made critical note of the complexity of campaign finance laws and their effects on ordinary-course political activity. This is nothing new in the Court’s jurisprudence: judicial worries about complicated rules seeping into the grassroots shows up in cases like McIntyre v. Ohio, FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life and Randall v. Sorrell. The preoccupation with circumvention, and the adoption of intricate mechanisms for stopping it, add to this problem of complexity and scope, which puts the campaign finance laws at risk of further erosion and loss of credibility. Unless the laws and regulations are reviewed and revised to address this problem, courts will trim them back, case-by-case, until very little is left. Progressives won’t think this is a good result.

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